Myles Garrett stayed home 'resting' on Wednesday and hasn't been ruled out of Sunday's game yet. (Associated Press)
Browns still not ruling out Myles Garrett, though he ‘rested’ at home on Wednesday
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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.
Takeaways from Browns practice and interviews …
After the shock of the Myles Garrett car accident passed, and then came the relief that he survived without major injuries, the reality is that the game must go on.
So now the question is: Will Garrett play on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons?
“I am not ruling anybody out on Wednesday,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We will kind of do what we always do, which is take in information every single day.”
Garrett stayed home on Wednesday, “resting,” Stefanski said, and will return to the facility on Thursday. Stefanski said he and trainers will have a better evaluation of Garrett’s game status after talking with him.
On Monday, Garrett’s Porsche rolled over several times after he reportedly swerved to avoid an animal on a country road in Medina Township. The Browns reported his injuries include “a shoulder sprain, biceps strain, minor lacerations, as well as some bumps and bruises to various other body parts.”
So, will Garrett attempt to suit up and play against the Falcons?
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” said safety John Johnson. “I know he probably wants to. But if you ask me, I think he should just personally sit it out. That’s a tricky situation. I’d say just take it easy, man.”
Last week, the defense needed mental healing after a meltdown against the Jets. This week, it needs a physical healing.
Besides Garrett, four other starting defensive players missed practice with injuries: Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (ankle), defensive tackle Taven Bryan (hamstring), cornerback Denzel Ward (back, ribs) and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (groin).
This comes after starting middle linebacker Anthony Walker was lost for the season with a torn quadriceps tendon.
Clowney was seen in the locker room without a protective boot on his ankle, which seemed like progress with his injury.
“I really think it’s day by day on all these guys,” Stefanski said. “With JD in particular, I don’t really have a feel [for his status].”
If Clowney and Garrett don’t play, the starting ends could both be rookies – Alex Wright at left end and Isaiah Thomas at right end.
JOK and Ward would be key omissions, too, considering the zone-read offense Atlanta now employs with quarterback Marcus Mariota using play-action to throw to big, physical targets Kyle Pitts and Drake London.
“I think their offense really affects all three levels [of the defense],” Stefanski said. “They have a quarterback that’s very, very adept at the zone read game. He’s been doing it all the way back through college. He can definitely make you pay from the pocket throwing the ball, make you pay in the zone read game keeping it. I think they’re doing a nice job of utilizing his skill set.”
The Browns have rushed for 572 yards and passed for 564. The only other teams to also have run for more yards than thrown are the Giants (508 rushing, 487 passing) and the Bears (560 rushing, 235 passing).
Some quarterbacks might take exception to handing off more than throwing, but not Jacoby Brissett.
“Whatever we have to do to score one more point [than the opponent],” he said. “Listen, I don’t have an ego to where I want to go out there and try to be somebody that I’m not.
“We understand what that does to opposing defenses, how it wears down teams in the fourth quarter. We got a good offensive line, really good backs. We’d be a fool not to run the ball and make the defense defend that part of our game. I’m excited for the future of that and how we’re going to continue to help it out.”
Brissett said the whole team feels the energy generated when the running game is taking over a game.
“You kind of feel it not just in the huddle but on the sideline,” he said. “Yeah, teams know we’re going to run the ball and we still run the ball. At some point, it shows the defeat sometimes when we have them on the ropes. Sometimes that’s the blow that it takes, is another run. Then you look at the last game and it was the pass to Amari [Cooper for 32 yards, in the fourth quarter]. However we have to get it done.”
But can the Browns get to where they want to go by mashing the ball on the ground, or will they have to join the arms race at some point?
“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Brissett said.
Ward’s injuries did not happen on any particular play, per Stefanski. “Just something has popped up. Just normal things for guys,” he said …
The Garrett rollover accident is just another incident testing the Browns’ resolve, following in line this season after the Deshaun Watson saga, the Kareem Hunt two-day “hold-in” for a trade or better contract, and the Baker Mayfield grudge game. “Since I’ve been in Cleveland it’s been about responding, literally,” said safety John Johnson. “We’ve practiced that, blocking out the noise, locking in. In weeks like this, we usually go out and have a good performance.” …
Sunday’s game in Atlanta will be Nick Chubb’s first professional game in his home state. He grew up in Cedartown, GA, about one hour northwest of Atlanta. “It’ll be great. Have a chance to go home. I’ve played in that stadium before,” Chubb said. Chubb’s Georgia Bulldogs won the SEC championship over Auburn, 28-7, in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. They returned to the stadium for the CFP championship game and lost to Alabama, 26-23, in overtime.